Sunday, September 5, 2010

Original Joe's and customer service

It isn't like this stupid tooth wasn't supposed to come out.

But it wasn't supposed to come out until October.

So here I sit, a day after having the tooth extracted, with a scowl on my bruised, swollen face ... during the last long weekend of summer. Maybe it's made a little bit better by the cold rain outside.

Or not.

A temporary crown had been in place since mid-July and was supposed to tide me over until October.

"Who wants to spend a summer Saturday afternoon in the dentist's chair getting a tooth pulled," my dentist asked.

Not this chickie. Not when there are hills to be climbed, ghost towns to be found and a dog to keep happy.

It's funny how other folks have different plans in mind for you, though.

The day before I left for World Hockey Summit, I went out for brunch with my friend and her mom. Sherrill had just moved back to Calgary from Saskatchewan and we were hanging out for a bit.

Original Joe's in Kensington, I suggested. Food's pretty good, albeit a tad overpriced. It's been one of my favourite brunch haunts for several years ... no lineups, good menu, great area.

Against my traditional Big Joe's Breakfast, however, I went with a turkey wrap.

Big mistake.

Not even two bites into the second half of the sandwich, I bit into something hard. I spit it out into my hand ... bone shards.

I placed them on my plate and called the waitress over to show her.

"There are bone shards in my turkey wrap."

"Well, there shouldn't be," she replied.

Thanks, genius. I would expect that there 'shouldn't be' bone shards in my sandwich.

She offered to replace my sandwich. I thought 'gee, take the chance on more bone' as I moved my tongue gingerly around my mouth, checking for damage.

I politely decline but expect that more should be done. As I'm checking around in there, I feel the crown wobble and a piece breaks off.


The bill arrives. And my meal is on it. As pieces of my crown sit next to the bone shards on my plate.

I huff on over to the bartender and explain the situation.

His face falls and he says, 'let me take care of that for you.'

Uh huh ... I didn't think I should have been faced with the prospect of paying for it after bone is found in my sandwich, broken tooth or not.

By the time I walk out the door, my entire crown is in my hand. And I'm on fire.

I pound out a series of disgruntled Tweets, to which several of my followers/friends respond with messages of sympathy and empathetic ire. And yes, I include @original_joes in most of my posts.

It takes a day or so but someone on the @original_joes account finally gets back to me with an 'oh my God, let's talk about this' reply.

But I'm on my way to Toronto. So I tell them to get someone to email me. On Tuesday, Adam Powell, area manager for Calgary Inner City and Interior B.C., writes to me.

He expressed his concern about my experience, offered apologies and explained Original Joe's is trying a new supplier, even going for a tour of the plant in short order.

My trip to Toronto is much busier than I imagined. I'm there for the World Hockey Summit and I'm Tweeting, blogging and exploring for most of the time I'm there.

I finally get back to Adam on Sunday, letting him know a description of my server and an account of the events.

Then nothing and nothing and nothing.

So I fire off these Tweets on September 1:

The next day, I get a reply from Adam. He's not so much upset about my experience anymore but about the tone of my Tweets.

My apologies for not replying sooner. I had a hectic weekend in the U.S. and was out of town from Aug. 27th until yesterday. I had a long day catching up at work and then managed to break my hand last night playing softball. I understand your concerns and it’s important to communicate in a timely manner especially these days with twitter, facebook, etc. Please understand there were some extenuating circumstances in this case. I found it important to reply late this evening due to the tone of your last couple tweets. I don’t want to feel anymore frustrated by the situation. I’m really slow on email right now because I’m trying to reply to dozens of emails tonight with my left hand only.

He was frustrated by the situation.

He was.


Well, good.

First, I hate excuses. I broke my hand once, too. It required surgery on a Saturday, tying up all my torn tendons with a couple of pins, and yet I managed to show up to a new job first thing that Monday morning.

Second, I really don't care what your excuses are for not getting back to me sooner. You didn't. I don't need the details of your personal life.

Maybe that makes me an unsympathetic bitch ... yeah, because that's news.

But this is where he really loses me:

I’m not entirely sure of what your expectations are in this scenario?

First, Adam, my expectation was to enjoy a meal with my friend and her mom without incurring injury at the fault of your restaurant.

Second, Adam, my expectation was for the restaurant to know how to handle the situation without asking me what my expectations are.

So, yes, Adam, I will accept your offer of a $100 gift certificate.

Not because I think that's sufficient but because I think I want to move on from this mess.

And when that gift certificate arrives in a timely fashion, as I'm sure it will, I will figure out what to do with it.

I'll probably use it in a way to benefit someone else. Of course, I'll ensure they know I'm not responsible for any injuries incurred while using the gift certificate.

But I'm pretty sure Original Joe's is off my list of suggested dining places.

1 comment:

  1. $100 gift cert is the least they can offer.

    How about some help with the dental bill? I mean, having to pay for that bill almost 2 months earlier than expected...

    Many people budget for these things. In this kind of scenario doubling the amount budgeted for dental could be a disaster.